How many credits does your homeschooled high schooler need to graduate? How do you give credit for the work your students are doing? And how do you count credits? In the world of homeschooling high schoolers, there are many questions that often don’t have clear answers because they often don’t apply to parents whose children attend a school. When you go to set up your own homeschool high school transcript and meet graduation requirements, you’ll need to know how to assign credits for the work your students have completed and know which courses you should be including.
Learn more about how credits and graduation work in your homeschool…
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Creating your own homeschool schedule is one of the greatest freedoms of homeschooling. Schools need set schedules to keep large groups of students organized and on track. But homeschool schedules allow for much more flexibility. Your homeschool daily routine doesn’t include time spent forming a line, taking scheduled bathroom trips, and or giving multiple students individual attention. If you need tips for creating a flexible but productive day for any grade, the following homeschool schedule ideas, samples, and resources will help you find a routine that fits your homeschool flow.
Learning experiences are the heart of teaching. A learning experience is any interaction with a student that leads to understanding new information. That may sound broad, but God’s creation is so wonderfully complex that learning can happen anywhere and at any time. Learning experiences aren’t limited to planned lessons; children can learn through spontaneous activities, dinner table conversations, grocery store shopping, or independent playtime.
Children’s minds are basically blank slates—they are constantly gaining new information. Education should gradually build on this foundation with new information and help children develop important learning skills. Successful learning experiences encourage children’s confidence and willingness to learn. Let’s explore some effective forms of learning experiences and tips for continuing successful learning.
When I homeschooled my two boys, we were able to take full advantage of the flexibility homeschooling offered. Creative scheduling allowed me to take into account my boys’ different personalities and adjust to the needs of our family. Our schedule didn’t always allow for the length of a typical school day. One of the boys liked to get up early in the morning and tackle his work, while the other wanted to do his work later. And neither of the boys liked having full open days with no work to do. So we adopted a schedule that suited everyone.
Six-Day Homeschool Schedule with a Twist
In the early years, daily lesson times revolved around the needs of my schedule, but as the boys got older, we didn’t have set times for any of their subjects. That way they could arrange their responsibilities within the time they had available. Most days we doubled up on at least one subject so that we could finish five days of work in four. Then our Friday would be a field trip day—whether we were going to a museum or visiting the park. We especially liked this schedule the fall because it meant we had plenty of good field trip opportunities. Any work that we weren’t able to finish through the week, we would do on Saturday. Doing that every week, we had the flexibility to take an extended break for Christmas and still finish our required school days by the end of April .
Keeping the Schedule During the Summer
During the school year, we only did subjects with 180 days of work during the school day, leaving the 90-day subjects for the summer. So, in the lower grades, we would do history and science during the summer. In the upper grades, we’d do literature. I also added in other learning activities such as math games, keyboarding, and foreign language practice as well as recreational reading time. That gave my boys a couple of hours of work each day, which kept them busy, but wasn’t overwhelming to them. With that set up, we were also able to count some of their textbook reading toward the library’s summer reading program.
In the end, our homeschool schedule was a little unusual, but it worked for us. I was able to capitalize on homeschool flexibility so that both of my boys’ learning needs were met in the best way possible.
As a mom, you’re always looking towards the future, thinking about the timetable of the next twenty years. Traditionally, kids are expected to be done with high school at 18, done with college at 22, finished with the master’s degree at 23, done with the doctorate at 26. We all know that the perfect timetable is just a general guideline, not a hard-and-fast rule that can be applied to everyone. Some children take more time to complete certain grades or phases of school. For others, education can be accelerated. Have you thought about encouraging your child to finish with college in just three years? Discover some ways that you can help your young adult move through those years of higher learning more swiftly.
With Advanced Placement (AP), a high school student can take a course and receive college credit. After the course is complete, your teen takes a standardized AP exam, administered by the College Board organization, to verify that he has done college-level work. Check the AP website for more information about exams in areas such as science, math, English language and literature, foreign languages, social studies, and fine arts. Under each of those categories, you’ll find exams for specific subjects, like biology or computer science.
College-Level Examination Program
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is similar to AP, except that your teen doesn’t have to take a course. This type of standardized exam gauges proficiency. Basically, if your student already excels in a particular subject, he or she doesn’t need to study that same material again at the college level. CLEP exams are available in all the subjects for which AP is available, plus several others such as accounting, marketing, and management. Visit the College Board website for more information.
Summer school is a popular way of shortening a student’s time in college. Students stay around on campus after the school year ends to continue their education over the summer. Since the cost for summer courses is usually lower than those taken during the school year, this is a great way to save money on tuition, room, and board.
Many colleges and universities offer distance-learning courses. Not all courses are available in this form, of course, but your student may be able to check off several classes by completing them remotely from home. Plus, taking courses online typically allows schedule flexibility so that your student can keep working on his education while still earning money from a summer job.
Considerations of Maturity and Responsibility
Before you encourage your teenager or young adult to pursue summer school, online courses, CLEP exams, or AP classes, consider a few important factors. Maybe your son or daughter has the intellectual prowess to churn through college at a faster rate, but does she have the emotional maturity to handle the extra pressure? Does he have the mental maturity to really take in what he is learning and benefit from it, or is he becoming burned out? Sometimes, a teenager may simply be too young to handle the rigors of an accelerated schedule, and that’s okay. Young adults develop at different rates. In fact, older college students tend to take learning much more seriously than the younger ones. They often apply themselves more diligently and spend less time on other pursuits.
Colleges and universities are about learning, but there are also extracurricular activities involved. Students who accelerate through high school and arrive at college at age 15 or 16 may have limited opportunities for certain sports or other team activities because they’re simply too young, too inexperienced, or not as strong and tall as the older students. This issue is not an insurmountable roadblock to the idea of accelerated education, but it is something to consider.
Young people in America today have lots of options, and accelerating college is just one of many. For some teens or young adults, it may be wiser to take life more slowly and to mature gradually, both intellectually and emotionally. For others, moving quickly through college may be ideal—the right way to begin a life of glory to God and service to others.
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Rebecca is a work-at-home freelance writer, novelist, wife, and the mom of two bright-eyed little ones. She credits her success in writing and her love of books to her own mom, who homeschooled three kids from pre-K through high school.